BONHAM — Forty years ago, baseball existed in a different state than today in Bonham.

BONHAM — Forty years ago, baseball existed in a different state than today in Bonham.

The Warriors remained in an extended postseason drought, as reaching the high school playoffs then in Texas required winning a district title.

Danny Darwin, former major league pitcher and Bonham native, welcomes the way Texas high school baseball is today with more chances to reach the postseason.

"I think all kids should experience being in the playoffs," said Darwin. "I got to experience it with two teams in the majors, with Houston vs. the Mets in 1986 and with San Francisco vs. Florida in 1997 and in the minors. Both of those teams (we faced) ended up winning it all.

"Even then, the little kid in you still comes out. I like the idea of giving kids the chance to experience something they might never again experience."

Though the high school baseball playoffs will not start for another several weeks in Texas, those attending Friday’s home game in Bonham will get to have a unique experience.

Darwin’s No. 3 Bonham jersey will be retired in a ceremony at 7 p.m., prior to the District 12-3A game against Anna.

"We had board members present us with the idea to look into retiring his jersey," Bonham athletic director and head football coach Cody Bounds said. "It wasn’t just my and Dr. (Marvin) Beaty’s idea."

Darwin will receive a framed Warriors baseball jersey and a new banner will be displayed in his honor on the fence in the outfield at the Bonham High School baseball field, according to a BISD press release.

"Any time you receive an award like this, I consider it an honor," said Darwin, a 1974 Bonham graduate. "When you have something retired, it’s not just your number, it’s also for the guys you played with. It’s an award I share with (them). It takes a team effort to get any kind of award.

"Back then, we had a lot of good athletes and always thought we could win each time we went out. I never played on a team that won district, but the group that I played with, they were all supportive of me."

Darwin, whose professional career spanned 20 years (1978-98) and eight teams — Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago White Sox and San Francisco Giants — specifically credited a few others with helping him achieve success in baseball.

"My dad was there through my whole career, little league through high school, along with Les Partridge. Those two were very instrumental in my development," he said. "They loved kids and youth athletics. Having them there to teach and help me get better was a blessing."

Darwin’s route to the majors began unintentionally.

"Glenn Gary (my teammate) invited me to try out at Grayson (County College) with him," said Darwin. "He pushed me to do it. I had no desire to do so. I thought I pitched well enough.

"I was never offered a scholarship except from SMU. It was tough back then to get a baseball scholarship. Glenn talked me into trying out for the team at Grayson. I pitched my freshman year and took off my second year. I guess I got bigger and stronger (my sophomore year), and the rest, as they say, is history."

Though 40 years have passed since Darwin last pitched for Bonham, memories of him remain.

"We are so excited and honored to have Danny Darwin coming back to Bonham, where it all started," Bounds said. "Mr. Darwin was a hard-nosed, tough and fiery athlete, and that is exactly the type of athletes we are trying to produce in Bonham today.

"Any time you can have a person like Danny Darwin around our young athletes and let them see him, talk to him and just be around him is a really good thing. This ceremony is long overdue and I am personally excited to get to be a part of it."